Owe, yeah! Barclays Center developer gives up battle with taxman

It’s open! Ceremonial ribbon-cutting marks Barclays Center debut
Photo by Bess Adler

The owner of the Barclays Center withdrew a lawsuit seeking to lessen a property assessment of the new arena and reduce the amount of money it owes the city — just three days after the press reported on the court filings.

Mega developer Forest City Ratner initially sought to cut the city’s tax appraisal on the new home of the Brooklyn Nets by claiming Department of Finance assessors monstrously overvalued the arena at $741 million when it was really worth just $111 million.

The Brooklyn Supreme Court filing, which was first reported by DNAinfo.com, would have vastly reduced the amount of the amount of money Forest City Ratner would owe the city annually, cutting it from an estimated $35 million to about $5 million, a source told the New York Daily News.

But the Atlantic Yards mega-developer now claims it never intended to include the arena and an adjacent Dean Street property slated to be the site of a 32-story building — and worth just $6,000, according the withdrawn legal documents — in the suit.

“Forest City has instructed our attorneys to discontinue these petitions immediately,” the development company’s subsidiary Brooklyn Events Center wrote in a letter to the Law Department.

Forest City Ratner does not pay property taxes on the 18,000-seat taxpayer-subsidized entertainment mecca, but as a substitute makes “payments in lieu of taxes,” dubbed “PILOTs,” to the city.

That money goes towards paying off $511 million in tax-exempt bonds Forest City Ratner received to help fund the Atlantic Yards development.

Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco said that lawsuit “should not have been applied to the arena because of the PILOT.”

The development company is still contesting with the city’s tax assessment of 30 other Brooklyn properties in what DePlasco described as a common real estate practice.

“These petitions are a customary, legal process designed to protect a property owner’s right to challenge the assessed values,” he said.